Really? you might ask.
What’s her problem? you might think.
The word itself is a fine one, meaning to direct one’s hopes or ambitions toward achieving something. I’m all for that.
What saddens me is when I hear someone refer to herself an aspiring writer.
That’s a strong statement I know, but allow me to explain.
I’ve been organizing my writing room recently and ran across an old return address label that read: Keli Gwyn, Aspiring Writer. At the time I was using those labels, that title fit. I dreamed of being a writer, but I’d not declared myself one and had not begun writing my stories. Sure, I wrote personal letters, grocery lists, and even an occasional article for our church newsletter, but I wasn’t writing with a goal of publication.
When I decided to turn my longtime dream of being a writer into reality five years ago, I stopped using those labels. Why? Because I was a writer.
The day I wrote the first words of my first story, I’d achieved my goal. I was no longer aspiring to be a writer. I was writing stories with a new goal, that of seeing them published so others could enjoy my efforts. I was aspiring to be published, but that’s different from aspiring to be a writer.
Why is this so important to me? Because I feel those who are actively writing but use the term aspiring before their title aren’t acknowledging what they’ve achieved. Those who have embarked on their writing journeys have overcome many things: inertia, fear, doubt, procrastination, and lack of confidence to name a few.
They’ve embraced their creativity, unleashed it, and are nurturing it. They’ve exhibited courage. They’ve done something many aspiring writers only dream of doing.
Taking the step of declaring ourselves writers can be a difficult for some of us, but one that can boost our confidence and bring us joy. We’re no longer wanna-be’s. We’re writers, and we’re a talented, generous, fun bunch of people who can wear our title with honor.
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Have you aspired to write, knit, scrapbook? How did it feel when you took the step and went from aspiring to doing? Was it scary, or did you forge boldly ahead?
If you’re writing, have your declared yourself a writer? Do you agree or disagree with my take on the word aspiring?